Who can resist delicious, crunchy carrots? Packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber, no wonder this veggie is a fan favorite.
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Registered dietitian Anna Taylor, MS, RD, LD, CDE, shares the nutritional benefits for these yummy veggies.
Good for you
Carrots are an incredibly healthy snack to munch on. The nutrition facts for 1/2 cup of raw carrots are:
Total fat: 0.2 grams
Sodium: 69 milligrams
Total carbs: 9.6 grams
Dietary fiber: 2.8 grams
Sugar: 4.7 grams
Protein: 0.9 grams
Calcium: 33.00 milligrams
Potassium: 320 milligrams
Iron: 0.30 milligrams
With only 41 calories in 1/2 cup, this delicious food is packed with health benefits. Some of these include:
- They’re a great source of vitamin A. About ½ cup of raw carrots has 51% daily value of vitamin A. This vitamin A content actually comes from provitamin A carotenoids which help your body fight infections.
- They’re great for your eyes. Studies have shown that carotenoids, an antioxidant pigment found in carrots, may decrease your risk of age-related macular degeneration.
- They can help reduce your risk of cancer. Carotenoids may help protect against prostate, colon and stomach cancer. Plus, one study noted that women who have high circulating levels of carotenoids may also have a reduced risk of breast cancer.
- They’re good for your heart. High blood cholesterol and heart disease go hand-in-hand. However, studies found that eating more carrots has been linked to lower cholesterol levels, thereby decreasing your risk for heart disease.
- They can help you lose weight. Since 1/2 cup of carrots only have 41 calories, they can actually help you feel fuller longer and in turn, decrease the amount of calories you eat. If you’re looking to lose weight, try adding some carrots into your food rotation.
Taste the carrot rainbow
Did you know that carrots come in a variety of colors? It’s true! Whatever their color, all carrots are filled with nutrients — so why not sample the rainbow? Taylor breaks down which nutrients create each hue:
- Orange: The classic color you probably think of when you think of carrots, orange carrots are higher in beta carotene, an antioxidant pigment (the carotenoid mentioned above). Eating too many can briefly turn your skin orange.
- Yellow: These also contain beta carotene and lutein, a carotenoid researchers think may protect the eyes, since antioxidants help shield cells from damage.
- Red: Provides biotin, fiber, potassium, vitamins K, B6 and C, and the trace element molybdenum, an essential mineral just like iron. This important element activates key enzymes in your body that helps it rid itself of certain toxins.
- Purple: These have more of the carotenoid anthocyanin. Researchers are studying its ability to treat inflammation and obesity.
- White: These may be devoid of color, but they’re not devoid of nutrition. Their fiber will help ease your digestion.
Healthy recipes using carrots
Now that you know why you should eat more carrots, here’s the how. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorite carrot dishes for you to try.
Try this simple side. It’s both sweet and savory and comes together in no time. It goes great with chicken or fish.
Roasting carrots brings out their natural sweetness. Here they’re paired with parsnips.
This coleslaw uses carrots as the main ingredient instead of cabbage.
This Thai-inspired carrot slaw is both fresh and flavorful.
This subtly spicy quinoa dish is loaded with carrots and zucchini.